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Archive for September, 2008

Our Company's Left...

September 21st, 2008 at 07:49 pm

...we're down to six at our house again. We had such a wonderful visit with my brother, his wife and four kids from Anchorage. Their older two and our younger two are the same ages, and all the cousins had a blast. We had my other brother and wife come over yesterday for a bbq - lots of food, talk, a cutthroat game of monster badminton and picture-taking. We miss them already, and it's so quiet here.

We did great on the meals. I stocked up ahead on milk, cereal, sandwich-making items and fruit, as well as plan out the week's dinners. We ordered in pizza once with a coupon deal (we paid.) My sis-in-law offered to make a meal (she shopped for what was needed.) And the rest of the meals were what I had planned out, with no restocking needed. As I plan out meals normally for us, I should have known how great it would work for double the people!

Loving my new camera more and more. We usually have an extra friend or neighbor we can call upon to take a group shot, but not this time. I figured how to use the self-timer feature, and we got several great pictures. (I know - probably most cameras have this feature, but I am so proud to have figured it out.) We are still working on my oldest's senior pictures - we may already have too many pretty shots to choose from.

We have found that my brothers and I will each have a bit of money coming to us, and it's a bit of a shock, though not totally unexpected. Going to give thorough thought to its use...kind of thinking along the lines of paying off the rest of the house and a little leftover medical debt from old times, definitely will max out the 401k, check into funding a Roth. I have a certain minimum amount of it that I'd like to see boost our EF. So far, those lines seem reasonable, but then there's the rest...

It would be nice (and a foreseeable need soon) to update one of our failing fleet of vehicles. We have made due with the under $1000 wonders, but I have to admit that we seem lately to be unlucky magnets for cars with troubles. Right now we have enough cars to allow one to be out of commission to be worked on. My husband does much of the work, but still it's pretty constant. The cars have managed to live up to that expectation and quietly take their turns being the car in the midst of repair. Except that we kind of look like a really bad used car lot, I don't really mind old cars as long as I can get to work each day. None of us really tie our identities to what we drive (though there are days when I probably do look as tired and worn out as my car, but that's something different.)

But occasionally, I get to thinking that while a new car is a poor investment, it's also nice... We've had a good experience with buying a brand-new car just after my husband and I married in 1984. We knew what we wanted, offered a price and quite amazingly got it. We loved every moment with that car, and we drove until its end (a sad day indeed.) We car camp, and more recently, have been venturing further from home across the country (I know, great timing with gas prices and all...) Is there a Dodge Colt equivalent out there for us - something reliable, gas efficient, travels well? Or do we bump up to a $5000 wonder? Lots to ponder, and we don't have to rush into any decisions at the moment luckily.

Otherwise, we're enjoying a quiet Sunday, with a mix of leftovers to do a "fend for yourself" day (the boarding house cook is taking a day off!) It's homecoming week, so tomorrow we're back to busy!

Enjoy your day!

A bit chatty today....

September 6th, 2008 at 11:01 pm

We all survived the first week of school! I did manage to keep on top of all of the papers (my homework as it's called) and the checkwriting (why do I ever think I'm done with just the supplies and shoes!) All fees and forms are complete - my girls are now free to attend school, just us parents are broke!

I used the crockpot twice last week, as there were curriculum nights and activities. It all has to start at once, I guess. All other meals were at home too. Grocery-shopped this morning, and kept to budget.

Because I started back to work too, I was again using the dryer for the daily load of laundry. Today was beautiful, though, so my clotheslines are filled.

My brother, his wife and four kids from Anchorage are coming for a visit in a week. Actually they started driving on the 1st and may have arrived up north in MN today - they have plans to hike the Superior Trail before heading down to us next Saturday. They homeschool their kids, so have the flexibility, but the week they'll be here is kind of a crunch week for us, with something going on each afternoon or evening. I'm doing my best to pare all that I can... and at least there will be the two weekends. I'm planning out some large-crowd, kid-friendly meals - chili, tacos, grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, etc. With my nearby brother and his wife, there will be 14 of us around the table, into the living room, and on the floor. We'll be cozy, and I'm looking forward to it all!

On the spending front - I purchased a new digital camera last weekend. I went in with a particular camera in mind, but was flexible enough to spend $20 more to get double the megapixels and 2x more optical zoom. Actually, I'm totally amazed at what I spent on this new one and all of its features compared to its few-generations-ago predecessor (my old camera was four years old, and very well-used - it was a great camera while it lasted in and out of my hands!) I loved my old Canon, and really love my new one (720IS)! I took some gorgeous senior pictures of my oldest last weekend at a nearby historical house and grounds. It's where the local Proex goes for their outdoor senior photo sessions. All I can say is that this new camera made ME look like I knew what I was doing, as well as making my daughter look as beautiful as ever. Plus the camera was cheaper than the Proex portrait session I was pricing, which was the lowest of the senior picture gamut around here. Thanks to all who encouraged me to do so after my previous senior picture mention a few entries back!

Still cleaning up a bit around here - we should look pretty presentable by the time our company arrives next week. The teacher that I work with at school gave me the prettiest tub of yellow mums for a 'late birthday/welcome back to school/oh my, what a caseload this year' gift. It looks wonderful on my front step, but the nearby summer flowers are looking really sad and past prime. Kind of want to get some more mums.... but it'll pass because I don't have time to go get some (being busy works in my favor often - no time to shop!) Oh well, I guess that's what fall is all about here in the upper midwest. If they get too bad, those summer flowers are compost!

Dinner will be grilled tonight - chicken and peppers for fajitas. Enjoy your weekend!!